Extrapleural bronchial artery ligation for life-threatening hemoptysis in cystic fibrosis—a case report

H K Kaukuntla, K M Amer, D Honeybourne, D E Stableforth, J F Khalil-Marzouk
Angiology 2000, 51 (9): 787-92
Hemoptyses are common in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. They range from massive life-threatening (> 240 mL/24 hours) to recurrent minor streaking. Limited pulmonary reserve, potential concurrent chest infection, and the progressive nature of CF pose a high risk to this subgroup. Conservative management and selective bronchial artery embolization (BAE) control most acute episodes, but the recurrence rate is high. The possible need for lung transplantation in future makes an extrapleural approach for bronchial artery ligation desirable. The aim of this study was to assess the role of extrapleural bronchial artery ligation in the treatment of recurrent hemoptysis in CF patients. This is a retrospective analysis of four patients between 1986 and 1999 treated by extrapleural thoracotomy and ligation of bronchial arteries. Indications, surgical experience, and outcome are presented. Three patients underwent unilateral, and one patient bilateral extrapleural thoracotomy (in two separate sessions) for bronchial artery ligation. There were three men and one woman, with a mean age of 26.6 years (range 19-32 years). Indications were failure to stabilize the bronchial arterial catheter for BAE (three cases), recurrence after BAE previously controlled bleeding (one case), and communication with the right costocervical trunk signifying risk to the spinal circulation (one case). The mean follow-up was 68 months (range 3-144 months). There was one death in this series, a patient who was asphyxiated with hemoptysis, requiring ventilation preoperatively. He underwent successful extrapleural thoracotomy for bronchial artery ligation, with no further bleeding but succumbed to severe chest infection and multiorgan failure a few days later. Two patients had recurrent bleeding 12 and 36 months after surgery. Selective bronchial angiography proved the contralateral bronchial arteries to be the culprit. Extrapleural bronchial artery ligation is an effective method of controlling hemoptysis in CF, when BAE has failed. This approach minimizes pleural adhesions and is, therefore, desirable in the future consideration for lung transplantation. In this experience, muscle-sparing thoracotomy and postoperative epidural analgesia significantly improved the postoperative recovery.

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